Sunday, August 22, 2010

Kosha Mangsho ~ My labour of love

Post rated: PG -13
Vegans beware - Can cause possible conversion to being a carnivore !      

"Kosha Mangsho" - is a Coolkata institution. Here in "Kosha" loosely means - pan fried/sauteed, "Mangsho" refers to goat meat. The phrase again loosely translated in hindi could mean "Bhuna hua gosht".

The first step in the right direction is to go to your favorite butcher (people don't change butchers and barbers in their mid-life, its like changing horses in mid-stream) and have him give you the choicest cuts into small cubes (some bone-in, and some boneless).

I did the same - I go to one "Haji Meat Shop"  in CA block market in Salt Lake for my mutton chops, run by one Md. Shahid. You may or may not love your wife, be sure to love your butcher or at least pretend to :)) I greeted Shahid bhai with "Salaam" and made some small talk and after exchanging  "ख़ैरियत ". Time to get down to business now. I asked Shahid bhai for about 1 kg  of "Kochi-Patha" , he gave it a good thought, looked around and showed me a sample of what he claimed the best money could buy. It was about 1.5 kg, he said he would make me an offer I couldn't refuse. But I did. I was stern, under direct instructions from my wife, not to buy more than 1 kg of red meat. Be very afraid of your wife !

Let me take a short detour to a   quote what a friend shared with me a few days ago on Facebook , it went like this - "You are lucky if your wife forgives every time she is wrong about something; Always use tasteful words when arguing, you may have to eat them back; When in doubt, listen to your heart, and then to your head, and then your wife will tell you what to do !" :))

Now returning to Shahid Bhai and his offer. We closed the deal with exactly 1 kg of meat with a small piece of liver and a couple of paayas thrown in to make the deal sweeter !  Price of meat varies more often than the currency index, today's price was Rs. 260 / kg ! (boneless and keema are  available upon request request and is sold at premium prices).  In the era of hypermarkets and frozen meats - nothing still beats quality fresh cut meat and a trip to your butcher ! My order was readied promptly and double bagged. I thanked Shahid bhai and we exchanged "Allah Hafiz".

Now to the harder part - disinfecting by washing with salt, prepping, marinating the mutton cubes with a medley of ingredients - beaten curd with roasted and grounded cumin seeds, red chilly powder, home made garam masala powder, chopped green chillies, some fresh ginger paste, and a liberal drizzling of mustard oil ! Oh yes there is a secret ingredient that has been left out on purpose. It is listed at the bottom of the post - to ensure you read this entire post ;-)

There is no such thing called too much marination, at least not for goat meat - which is quite stiff a meat and the longer the marinade works on it, the better the tissues would break down, the softer the mutton becomes. I had about two hours of marination time available to me, before I would risk being driven out of home for incompetency and late lunch by the wife !

The marination time was used by taking my wife out for some shopping. Time flies by, 2 hours went by and we returned home to a well marinated "Kosha Mangsho" wannabe ! Now the regular routine of heating the oil in a pressure cooker, throw in whole spices (green cardamom, hand-broken cinnamon sticks, black pepper kernels, and a couple of sprigs of mace). Spices crackle out of excitement, now is when is I added a lot of minced garlic, onion paste made out of about 6-7 small-medium size onions, a blob of ginger paste, some turmeric powder, salt and pepper to taste, some more red chilly powder. Now I almost NEVER listen to any rules when cooking and just listen to my taste-buds whispering into my ears. This time they whispered that I needed some thing else - I found and added a small pack of something called "Maggi bhuna masala" - which is basically a premix of onion/ginger/garlic/oil and a bevvy of spices.  Fried the masala for say 15 minutes and then added the marinated mutton, re-fried for another 15, until the spices and mutton were at peace with each other. Now I covered the lid and pressure cooked for say about 25 mins (or 6-8 whistles - this may seem a lot, however goat meat reminds you life is tough, but goat meat is tougher).

Once the desired number of whistles were allowed for - let the meat stand in the pressure cooker, for another 5-10 minutes, until the pressure eases off and even though your cooker is off the flame, the meat is still being steam cooked !  You will note that no additional water was added to this preparation - the marinade, the moisture in the meat, the salt - all release enough water for the meat to cook in its own sauce.

* Personally, I don't like potatoes in my Kosha Mangsho !

Finally the time to open the lid came and rest is history. La Dolce Vita !

Piping Hot !

Kosha Mangsho Close Up
Rice Bowl
Bowl of Kosha Mangsho
Roti and Mutton !

Kosha Mangsho along with the ubiquitous * Maanshor Jhol * (that is just how it is pronounced - are Sunday delights at most meat eating bengali families).

You can be certain this exact preparation is hard to find outside the state of Bengal. There might be bengali restaurants in other states/cities attempting this dish for "Probashis', but I would only try them with a pinch of salt !

Each household has its own recipe of cooking this Sunday Delicacy. There are many eateries in the city that have made Kosha Mangsho their own. A few are listed below.

Image Courtesy @ Aloke Majumder
* Golbarir Kosha Mangsho @ five-point crossing Shyambazar needs no introduction. I have personally never had the good fortune to try it (will do so shortly). I am told it is stuff fantasies are made of and has even made it's way to  the literary inclusions. So this one has been inducted into the "Hall of fame !".

Image Courtesy: The Telegraph, Kolkata

 * Mughlai Paratha and Kosha Mangsho @ Anadir Cabin.

Image Courtesy: Your highness !

* Oh Calcutta has this signature dish listed on their menu as "Golbarir Kosha Mangsho", giving Golbari the deserving credit.Have tried it and was pretty good.

Now finally down to the secret ingredient...

It is grated green papaya. Did you know - It has tenderizing qualities ? I added a small bowl of thinly grated  green papaya to the marinade !

Not to give myself a pat on the back, but what the heck ! Try this recipe out some time and thou shan't regret.

Shabba Khair !


  1. Brilliant........................just keep writing away

  2. Writing this comment at 1:30,my usual stomach-grumbling-after-vineet's-blog time

    Oh you have bought back so many delightful memories!Kosha Mangsho like in every bengali household was a staple feature during sunday lunch.I used to wait for it all day,finishing my studies fast and skip to the dining room where the entire family would sit down and eat(sadly those days of joint family are over)

    I like my mangsho will plain rice and a bit of "lebu".I would sit and try to make the rice more and more red...and then relish those juicy peices of mutton.
    Also i dont know about you but i used to love having it with "tomato chutni"..towards the end that is.The mix of the hotness of the curry and sweetness of the chutni i loved it.

    My dad also on very special occasions used to cook the mangsho himself,and he liberally added a lot of spices which would leave everyone sniffling and panting!

    Those days of kosha mangsho are over,dats probably the only dish my mom cannot really get it right(She make awesome mirchi gosht,yum)..

  3. When do we get to taste the bliss

  4. @Vishal - Just invite yourself over a weekend and thou shall be blessed !

  5. Looks scrumptious. However, I am a tad surprised how the meat didn't catch on to the bottom of the pan.. read..get charred at the bottom, since there was no extra water added,just the juices from the 6/7 onions and curds.

  6. @Rukma - Yes the meat did not catch onto the bottom of the pan ! The marinade and the moisture in the meat spat out enough moisture for it to cook. Glad you liked it.

  7. Will need to try this one out soon! Thanks :)

  8. @Rukma - By all means, be my guest :)

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  11. One hell of an awesome recipe. I tried this recipe and it turned out really good. The mutton was cooked so well. Raw papaya did the magic :D


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